If there is such a thing as an iconic local who represents the best in what it means to be from the Outer Banks, truly it is Eddie Green. Most everyone who resides here, or has been travelling to our area for many years, knows of him and his rich accomplishment. If you don’t know him personally, you are likely aware of or have shopped in “The Christmas Shop” in Manteo, which is his creation.
Unfortunately, his business is closing this year, and as he points out on his website, one of the reasons he’s retiring is, “Because I’m 90 years young.” It’s a real shame that he’s closing his doors, but it’s hard to argue after the store has served our community for 48 years. This means parents who remember coming to the Christmas Shop as kids can no longer bring their children. Instead, they will come to understand this experience from parents who recount these special memories.
Besides owning this very successful business, Greene has meant so much more to those in our Outer Banks communities. There are many improvements to our lives that locals take for granted that in one way or the other can be attributed to his devotion.
On October 1, 2015, Eddie Greene received the honor of being named the “Citizen of the Year” presented by the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce. When asked to speak, he pointed to one achievement above all others that he felt was most important. “One of the things I was participating in was the Community Foundation,” he said. “And it thrills me every time I see them handing out grants and scholarships.”
Founded in 1982 by a number of notable Outer Banks residents, including Andy Griffith, David Stick and Greene, along with others, the Outer Banks Community Foundation is in many ways the backbone of community giving on the Outer Banks, providing grants to a number of charitable foundations and handing out more scholarships than any other Outer Banks organization.
Before he opened The Christmas Shop, it will surprise many to know that Greene was a very successful professional dancer. He served in the Navy during WWII and came to the Outer Banks soon after his service, first as a dancer and actor in The Lost Colony, and later becoming assistant choreographer for the production. He also toured nationally with a number of dance companies, but as he has said repeatedly, he always knew the Outer Banks was where he wanted to be.
Eddie Greene didn’t have much when he opened the Christmas Shop, but he understood that the key to any successful business is happy employees. As a sure sign of this success, his first employee, Richard Lacerre, is still with him and was at the Chamber of Commerce banquet honoring him.
It is almost impossible to overstate the significance of Greene’s contributions to the Outer Banks community. He was instrumental in bringing the Outer Banks Hospital to Nags Head. He hosted the New World Festival of the Arts, a remarkable artist gathering in downtown Manteo, for over 30 years. Continuing his legacy, this event is now hosted by the Dare County Arts Council.
And through it all, Eddie has maintained a wonderful sense of humor, which may be the defining part of his enduring personality. After a moving tribute delivered by Carl Curnutte, Executive Director of the Elizabethan Gardens, Greene said, “Carl, you made me want to meet someone just like that.”
Finally, as he thanked everyone for all that they’ve done to make his time so special on the Outer Banks he said, “It has been an amazing journey.” We couldn’t agree more.
We love surfing and felt the need to highlight some of the amazing talent from around the world in surfboard art. Here are ten of our favorite artists with examples of their work. Click the image to enlarge.
Fieldey, or as her mom calls her, Haylee Fieldes, started out on her career path studying graphic design in Sydney, Australia before spending a few years travelling and then working as a graphic artist in London. In 2007 she moved to Perth where she picked up surfing and decided to custom-paint her own board. The rest, as they say, is history. Her popular YouTube channel Fieldey TV, and blog tutorials have helped to make her a rising star in the surf art scene. As an addition to her great surfboard art, you can see many uniquely designed mural of hers throughout Perth. The board we are highlighting is titled “The Saucy Knave” which Fieldey says “is one of my favourite boards… it’s a delightful mixture of tropical plants, my favourite fruit, an untrustworthy cad and a galapagos land iguana.”
Drew Brophy has been a professional surf artist for over 25 years and has always been fascinated by stories of ancient civilizations which is what led him to paint the board we are highlighting titled “The Percession”. He has this to say about this piece, “The Percession painting was sparked during a trip to Mexico where I flew over the Ancient Aztec Pyramids at Teotihuacan in Mexico City. The painting depicts the center of a crumbling Mayan Calendar being overtaken by the roots of the Tree of Life as a golden snake spirals from the sky, wrapping around the surfboard. This marks the end of days and the return of Quetzalcoatl. The pyramid on the bottom of the board represents a re-awakening of ancient knowledge. The waves on the top and bottom of the board represent stories of the great flood and Mother Nature’s ability to reclaim the planet. The balls of energy emanating from the calendar are spheres of light, essentially energy, our life force. In the final days you will either be doomed to start over, or be transformed with this awakened knowledge. It begs for an answer to a question: How have you lived your life?”
Wade Koniakowsky, is one of America’s leading ocean-inspired artists. Wade blends his passion for painting and surfing together to inspire his surfboard art that is recognized worldwide. You can see many of Wade’s signature paintings featured anywhere from movies to international surf competitions such as The North Shore Vans Triple Crown and ROXY sponsored events. One very prominent place to currently view some of his custom surfboards is at Billabong stores nationwide. Wade is also the owner of the Ocean Art Gallery in the Solana Beach Cedros Design District where you can see much of his work in many different mediums. This board we are highlighting is titled “Deep Green”.
Jay Alders was raised in Howell, New Jersey and grew up spending time on his skateboard with his friends. His love for surfing came when he got his own wheels and would frequently sneak onto Manasquan’s Military beach after school with his friends to surf and hang out. Jay majored in art at Montclair State University leading to a natural connection of surf and art. You may have seen Jay’s artwork on the covers of Surfer’ Path Magazine and Brazil’s Alma Surf Magazine who also named Alders, “The Best Surf Artist of the Past Decade in 2010“. Jay is also known for his heartfelt philanthropy work and healthy vegan lifestyle. He regularly gives back to the world community whenever possible; in fact a portion of proceeds from every board he sells goes to the charity SurfAid International . The board we are highlighting is titled “Left Behind the Wall”.
As a graduate of Laguna College of Art and Design and resident of the Southern California coast, Heather is able to blend her lifelong passion for drawing and painting with the beauty of her natural surroundings. At a young age, Heather began painting surfboards and continues to produce “rideable” works of art for the coastal community and worldwide art collectors. Throughout her continued success, Heather has been invited to paint live at venues from The Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel to The Montage Laguna Beach and beyond. Heather says that her goal with each piece is to provide a timeless glimpse into paradise and reflect the designs found in nature with an added twist of imagination. The board we are highlighting is titled “Maui Mermaid”.
Natalie Thompson is currently attending San Francisco Art Institute and when not attending school lives in San Diego where she says everything from the beaches to the endless sunshine and of course the surf inspires her. She enjoys creating vibrant art and finds the process of creating these pieces to be a great way to escape reality while having the chance to truly express herself. Natalie prides herself giving back to her community and is always willing to share and open her world up to those who are hoping to learn more about the beauty that art holds. The board we are highlighting is titled “Viva la Vida”, inspired by the relationship between Natalie’s home town of San Diego and its bordering town in Mexico.
Joshua Ottis Potter, born and raised in San Diego, California, studied art in San Diego at Palomar College and Mira Costa College. His passion and experience have led him to notable clientele such as Quicksilver, Spalding and T&C Surf Designs Hawaii to name just a few. Josh’s art most definitely shows his passion for surfing as well as his love of the ocean. He enjoys working in a variety of mediums, including graphical design, pencil drawing with digital airbrush, oil painting and enjoys experimenting with non-traditional mediums as well. Josh has spent over 15 years airbrushing his creations onto surfboards in Southern California. The board we are highlighting is titled “Skull Filght”.
Bob Langston was born and raised in Norfolk, Virginia and has lived in Virginia Beach since 1987. Bob has been working as a professional artist since 1985 and graduated with a BFA in commercial art and design from VCU in 1986. Bob loves bringing two of his passions together, art and surfing, when he creates custom designed surfboards. He also enjoys working in many other mediums from film and tv to web based animation to drawing, graphic design , painting murals, drawing caricatures and more! The board we are highlighting is titled “Psychedelic Fish of the Deep”.
Tonia Senoo is not only a passionate artist but also an accomplished pilot! Tonia recently chose to leave her career as a pilot that she worked very hard to attain and has been doing since the age of 20 to follow her other two loves, her 3 children and her art. Tonia has always enjoyed creating works of art for friends and family and has, since deciding to stay at home with her children, began to pursue a career in the field as it allows her to be a stay-at-home mom. Her love for surfing and the ocean shows through in her surfboard art as well as her canvas paintings and murals. The board we are highlighting is titled “Fish on Fish”.
Jimmy Wags, aka James Francis Waghorn, was born in Grafton, NSW, Australia and currently lives on the coast in the village of Mullaway with his wife and “legendary kid”. He has always had an interest in sports but none have ever topped his love for surfing and skateboarding. Jimmy has always had an interest in drawing and has often created his art inspired by his surroundings which has continued to this day. Discovering paint pens brought a new vibrance and colour palette to Jimmy’s artwork which he continues to use and grow in. It is easy to see Jimmy’s passion for this colorful medium in his surfboard art. Jimmy has a great respect for his surroundings whether that be his friends and family or simply the beauty of the environment he is in and looks forward to continue to grow as an artist while continuing to create “unique (and sometimes strange) artworks for all.”
Watch Jimmy create this board in this time-lapse video!
There is a tendency to think of wind energy as a new form of technology, but it is not. Converting the power of the wind to electric energy is relatively new, but using the wind to aid human endeavors dates back to the first windmills that appeared in the Near East 1,200 years ago. If sailing ships are included in wind energy, it’s difficult to find a time in human history that wind was not a part of our energy portfolio.
Since wind is our constant companion, the Outer Banks history of wind energy’s impact on our civilizations is important to discuss. It’s not surprising that one of the potentially largest commercial wind energy fields in the world has been identified off the Outer Banks, located just due west of the town of Kitty Hawk.
The use of wind energy on the Outer Banks has a long and rich history, predated by at least 150 years of government efforts to develop it as an alternative energy resource.
Clear records are difficult to locate, but researchers have identified as many as 21 windmills in Dare County. We do have a record of what they looked like from illustrations made by Union soldier, Charles Johnson, of the 9th New York during the 1861 Hatteras campaign.
Johnson, who chased the Confederate forces across mosquito infested sands in the heat of the summer, likely had a more reserved opinion of the beauty of the Outer Banks than most visitors have. “These windmills, by the way, are about the only things picturesque on the Island, and as objects of study for an amateur artist, they are admirable,” he wrote.
The windmills were an important part of the local economy. Outer Banks fishermen would trade their daily catch with mainland farmers for wheat and corn, and the windmills, operating as grist mills, would grind the grains into flour.
There is speculation, but no indisputable proof, that a hurricane caused the end of the windmill era on the Outer Banks. The Great Hurricane of 1899 swept across the North Carolina coast in August of that year with a wind gust of 140 mph recorded before the Hatteras Village Weather Station anemometer broke … actually it was blown away.
The damage to the windmills that were typically on the water’s edge of the sounds would have been significant. There is still one windmill on the Outer Banks that is operating at the Island Farm on Roanoke Island, although that is a reproduction of the typical “post mill” that was most common. The more modern form of harnessing the wind’s energy is still evident in numerous places in Dare County.
Probably the best know wind turbine is the Bergey Windpower turbine located behind the Outer Banks Brewing Station in Kill Devil Hills. It is not, however, the only one. The federal government erected a small turbine at Coquina Beach in South Nags Head to power the bathhouse. The turbine at Jockey’s Ridge State Park is easily visible from the road and helps offset the Visitors Center’s energy needs. There is also a wind turbine demo site that Dominion Power maintains at their offices located on The Woods Road in Kitty Hawk.
The most powerful and largest example of harnessing the wind is located at Jennette’s Pier, where three turbines generate a significant percentage of the facility’s energy at full power; the turbines are able to provide 50% of the energy needed to maintain the pier.
The view from the top of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse is extraordinary. To the east the Atlantic Ocean crashes into Corolla beach in channels of white-crested waves; to the south on the clearest days, the water tower in Duck, 13 miles south, is barely visible. Looking west, the Currituck Sound is dotted with islands near the shoreline, and then open water until it reaches the mainland.
Looking north and slightly to the west, there is an island that sits alone in the sound, and someone with binoculars, or particularly acute eyesight, may notice the structures that dot the island.
This is Monkey Island, named for the Pamunkey Indians, who used it as a hunting camp before European settlers came to the new world. The island is a jewel that sits in the middle of Currituck Sound and houses the remnants of a clubhouse, manager’s quarters and outbuildings that have given way to decay over time.
There was a time when the seasons on the Outer Banks were reversed and summer was the slow time of the year, a time when farmers tended their fields. As they brought in harvests, and the first migrating ducks and geese arrived. And, accompanying the arrival of these migratory waterfowl, the Outer Banks hunt clubs filled with the rich and elite of Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York City and Washington, D.C. areas.
At one time there were more than 100 hunt clubs from Back Bay, at the northern tip of Currituck Sound, to Hatteras Island. Few remain because property taxes on the land put many out of business, members found the price of membership too high, and sons and daughters did not have the continuing interest in hunting.
When the Monkey Island Club closed its doors in 1974, a chapter in the history of the Outer Banks closed with it. At one time this club sitting atop a seven acre island rivaled all the hunt clubs of Currituck Sound as a place of wealth and privilege.
Monkey Island was never as ornate or opulent as the Whalehead Club or many of the other clubs surrounding it, yet its membership represented some of the most wealthy and powerful figures of its day.
It first became a private hunting club in 1869 when Norfolk investors purchased the island for $15. It then changed hands a number of times until a group of tobacco executives bought the property in 1919, and they incorporated the island and surrounding land as the Monkey Island Hunting Club.
These weren’t just any tobacco executives, though. They included George Hill, president of the American Tobacco Company, and his executive vice president, Charles Penn, who’s largely credited with developing the Luck Strike brand of cigarettes.
Through the 1920s and 1930s some of the most renowned writers and columnists of the day were guests at the Club. Roland Clark, one of the best known outdoor artists of the day, was a regular guest. According to legend he hunted with a sketch pad and pen in hand.
The hunting and fishing remained good through the 1960s, but in 1974 heirs of the founders decided to sell the island along with two miles of beachfront property they owned. A series of failed businesses followed and eventually the U.S. Fish & Wildlife came into possession of Monkey Island.
USFW granted the island to Currituck County in 1988 with the understanding that the county would restore the grounds and create a nature center. When the county did not accomplish this, the ownership reverted to back to the USFW.
Today Monkey Island is administered as part of Mackey Island National Wildlife Refuge, and access to the island is forbidden without permission. The island itself is an important rookery for great blue and little blue herons, great egrets and other wading birds.
There are boat and kayak trips that circle Monkey Island, but without permission from the USFW landing on the island is not permitted.
It’s true, the “second season” on the Outer Banks just keeps getting better and better! Without a doubt, the summer is a great time to visit, but the fall is quickly become a very popular second season for those who love the Outer Banks. The weather has cooled and the crowds have diminished, but that is only a part of the big picture as the fall months are alive with great music, the ESA Surf Competition, a seafood fest and a fantastic marathons.
Music appears to highlight Outer Banks events, especially during September and October. The 4th Annual Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival, held at Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo, is on September 23-26th. If there is one show to check out, this is it! Rhonda Vincent and the Rage will be back for the fourth year, joining headliners Sam Bush and Pam Tillis.
Columbus Day Weekend continues to be an Outer Banks “Music Fest” weekend, leading off with the 5th Annual Mustang Music Festival (October 9-10th), followed by the 9th annual Duck Jazz Festival (October 11th). The Mustang Music Festival runs Friday and Saturday, leaving Sunday open for the Duck Jazz Festival.
At the heart of the Mustang Music Festival is the music, but Mike Dianna, who hosts the Festival, has done an outstanding job of making this a family friendly event. The setting at the Whalehead Club is ideal for an outdoor concert and the music is always great. Back this year, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band with their funky New Orleans sound.
It’s difficult to imagine a better venue for live outdoor music than the Duck Town Green, a beautiful and tranquil setting that lends itself to the intimacy of jazz music. The Duck Jazz Festivalhas become one of the highlights of the fall music scene and with Maceo Parker headlining this year, it promises to be another spectacular day of music.
It’s not just the music that makes the Outer Banks such a great place to be in the fall. The Dare County Arts Council (DCAC) will bring the 26th Annual Artrageous celebration of the arts to Rec Park in Kill Devil Hills on September 26th. The day will be filled with interactive art projects for kids, and it’s the perfect way to spend a day with the family. The DCAC will also be hosting their Ruby Renaissance on October 24th at the Pirate’s Cove Pavilion to celebrate their 40th Anniversary.
The bounty of the sea is an essential part of Outer Banks heritage, and there are a number of fishing tournaments scheduled in the fall months. One of the longest running tournaments is theManteo Rotary Inshore Slam, which used to be the Rockfish Rodeo until rockfish runs slowed, and so the focus and the name changed. This is a great tournament and the proceeds go to the Manteo Rotary scholarship fund.
An important part of our fishing heritage, commercial fishermen have always been an integral part of the community. The Outer Banks Seafood Festival, held on October 17th, celebrates this heritage, and attendees enjoy a variety of music and can sample some very fresh seafood from the cooking demonstrations.
No description of Outer Banks fall activities would be complete without mentioning the Outer Banks Marathon. A weekend event, November 6-8th, it has become a family tradition for many with participation in the Fun Run, 5K and 10K courses as well as a half marathon. The marathon is a qualifying race for the Boston Marathon. The course starts in Kitty Hawk Woods and ends in Manteo, making it one of the most beautiful runs on the East Coast.